The construction of normal expectations: Consumption drivers for the Danish bathroom boom

Maj-Britt Quitzau, Inge Røpke

    Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


    The gradual upward changes of standards in normal everyday life have significant environmental implications, and it is therefore important to study how these changes come about. The intention of the article is to analyze the social construction of normal expectations through a case study. The case concerns the present boom in bathroom renovations in Denmark, which offers an excellent opportunity to study the interplay between a wide variety of consumption drivers and social changes pointing toward long-term changes of normal expectations regarding bathroom standards. The study is problemoriented and transdisciplinary and draws on a wide range of sociological, anthropological, and economic theories. The empirical basis comprises a combination of statistics, a review of magazine and media coverage, visits to exhibitions, and qualitative interviews. A variety of consumption drivers are identified. Among the drivers are the increasing importance of the home as a core identity project and a symbol of the unity of the family, the opportunities for creative work, the convenience of more grooming capacity during the busy family’s rush hours, the perceived need for retreat and indulgence in a hectic everyday life, and the increased focus on body care and fitness. The contours of the emerging normal expectations are outlined and discussed in an environmental perspective.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
    Issue number2
    Pages (from-to)118-206
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • sustainable consumption
    • industrial ecology
    • lifestyle
    • social construction
    • bathroom
    • normality

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